“Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium is an autonomous body of the Government that aims at catalysing multidisciplinary agro-based industrial growth with special emphasis on bridging the gap between forward and backward linkages”
Agriculture with its allied activities is the single largest private sector economic activity in the country. However, poor level of input base and infrastructure, uneconomic holdings, absence of marketing facilities and lack of agricultural credit have kept agriculture as subsistence sector and unremunerative to be taken up as commercial venture. In fact, this is the only sector which has tremendous potentials for expansion of employment opportunities and removal of rural poverty. These objectives can be fulfilled only if concerted efforts are made to realise the untapped potentials. Low productivity in many crops, post-harvest losses and inadequate processing facilities for fruits and vegetables, low production of milk, milk products, fish & meat are some of the major weaknesses. Further, efficient linkages between the producers and consumers are absolutely essential for expanding employment opportunities and for increasing the rural incomes through better marketing of agricultural products. Realising the fact that the prevailing situation was far from ideal, the Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Agri. & Cooporation, GOI was set up as an autonomous body registered under Indian Societies Registration Act,1860 on 18.01.1994 with its core aims and objectives focused on increased production and productivity, value addition, provision of efficient linkages between producers and Consumers, empowerment of rural people specially women and socially disadvantaged sections, availability of credit, access to technology and assured remunerative prices for their produce. The Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium deals with agriculture in its wider connotation including Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Sericulture apart from Crop Husbandry & Horticulture.
As an extended arm of Central SFAC, under the same pattern, the Dept. of Agriculture, Manipur as the Nodal Administrative Department has set up Manipur Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (Manipur SFAC) by registering under the Manipur Societies Registration Act, 1989 on 18.11.2000. The Director Agriculture Manipur functions as ex-officio Managing Director of Manipur SFAC.
As on today, SFAC has been declared as a “Financial Institution” under Section 17 (8A) of the RBI Act 1934 to act as lending bank in setting up agri-business projects by way of participating in the equity contribution of promoters’ as Venture Capital Assistance. Donations to SFAC are exempted from Tax under Section 80 (G) of the Indian Income Tax Act. 1961.